Wedding trends 2016
By Julie Fitz-Gerald
Rustic cakes and metallic finishes lead spring wedding trends
By Julie Fitz-Gerald
Weddings are known for glamour, but this year they promise to shine even brighter.
As vintage trends of the past settle into soft accents, brides and grooms across the country are bringing added glitz to the table with muted mixed metals. It’s a trend that Allyson Bobbitt, co-owner of Bobbette and Belle Artisanal Pastries in Toronto, is looking forward to.
Bobbitt and business partner Sarah Bell opened their bakery in 2010. With two locations and hundreds of wedding cake orders every year, the cake-designing duo stays current with the latest trends, often finding inspiration from high-end fashion runways.
“I think sparkling glitter is a big trend, so things like gold and mixed metals – that’s one of our favourite things coming up. In some of the cakes I’ve been designing for this year, I’m really working a lot with mixed metals and different textures, but at the same time still having it be subtle; so a little bit of sparkle, a little bit of texture and some shine,” Bobbitt says. “I love to use something I call ‘gilver,’ which is a mix of silver and gold that’s really pretty and very neutral.”
Shauna Austin, owner of City Girl Cakes in Dartmouth, N.S., is seeing a similar metallic trend on Canada’s East Coast.
“Right now what I’m seeing from clients who are booking is blush, gold and white, or blush, cream and gold. I’m also seeing touches of metallics. Rustic but in a woodland way is trending right now out here. We’re still seeing the lace appliqués on wedding cakes as well as mostly white cakes with a really bright pop of colour,” she says.
Austin was named “Best Cake and Pastry Designer – Atlantic Canada” by the Canadian Wedding Industry Awards (CWIA) in 2014. While she loves to incorporate new trends, Austin says customers in her region tend to adopt trends later than those in other parts of the country.
The personalization of wedding cakes is experiencing a surge in popularity. Austin has been asked to incorporate a teacup pattern that belonged to the bride’s grandmother onto a sentimental wedding cake and she has gone off the beaten path creating a motocross cake that featured a dirt biker spraying mud onto beautiful white tiers.
Back in Toronto, Bobbitt is noticing a demand for personalization – but in the form of art.
“Really taking a painting you would see on canvas, whether it’s something literal like a flower pattern or something more abstract, and then transferring that to a cake. I think the types of edible colours that we’ve used have come so far over the years that it affords you a lot more options in terms of types of decorating. So I think a lot of interior design trends and things like that start to come into the wedding and cake world,” Bobbitt notes.
In 2015, the rustic-style “naked” cake rose to popularity and continues to be sought after, with its exposed layers artfully displaying the smooth buttercream icing on the inside. “In Ontario – and I think this would apply in other cities as well – we have our urban centres like Toronto where things can be a little more modern, but most places have a cottage country as well. So whether it’s sugar bush outside of Montreal or going up to Muskoka, those are really popular destinations for weddings,” Bobbitt says. “If you’re having a wedding there, you want it to fit into the surroundings, so the rustic trend will always be around.”
In Montreal, Yukiko Sekiya of Yuki Bakery is noticing similar trends, but with a decidedly French twist.
“Elegant, rustic glamour with deep colours, bold designs and use of metallics. In 2015, the popular style was more casual rustic with romantic, vintage accents like lace and fresh flowers. Ivory, blush pink and gold were the popular colours,” she says via e-mail.
Sekiya, winner of CWIA’s “Best Wedding Cake Design” category for Quebec in 2014, notes the use of fresh fruits as fillings is another trend she’s seeing with her clients. “I have seen more and more couples looking for sweet tables that showcase truly delicious desserts and indulgent treats on more simple, yet beautiful, rustic settings,” Sekiya says. “Desserts can be made with fresh seasonal fruits, such as strawberries in the early summer, and pumpkin or apple for fall weddings. Fresh fruit decorations will be more popular [this year] than royal icing.”
With couples giving as much thought to desserts as they are to their wedding cakes, cake designers can bring more creativity and design to the table than ever before. “People don’t want dessert to be an afterthought, which it kind of was before. I think they want it to have a ‘wow factor.’ And with the popularity of Pinterest and Instagram, people love to have something really pretty to show on these tables.”
Bobbette and Belle offers a wide selection of desserts for clients to choose from, and anything sold in their shop can be done in two-bite versions for events. With the addition of artfully designed desserts, Bobbitt says many clients will choose to scale down the wedding cake.
“People realize that maybe not all of the wedding cake will be eaten or served, or people are going to want the mini desserts, so we can bring down the size of the actual wedding cake.”
While wedding cakes are being forced to share the limelight with dessert tables, they continue to be the showstopper. With more and more bakers focused on ensuring the inside of the cake tastes as delicious as the outside looks, wedding guests are once again lining up for a slice.
“It’s almost like wedding cake has gotten a bad rap,” Bobbitt says. “I feel like Sarah and I are trying to change that perception. We want people to taste the cake and say, ‘Wow, this is actually delicious cake,’ so that’s always our main focus: making sure we have perfect, exact layers with an inch high of cake and a quarter inch of buttercream. We measure everything so it’s exact and level and then also focusing on freshness, moistness and quality of ingredients.”
With 99 per cent of Bobbitt’s clients ordering different tiers in different flavours, such as vanilla with mango and passion fruit or chocolate with raspberry and salted caramel, wedding cakes are proving their worth inside and out.
As mixed metals offset rustic designs and wedding cakes become more personalized, this year’s wedding season is sure to shine.
Julie Fitz-Gerald is a freelance writer based in Uxbridge, Ont., and a regular contributor to Bakers Journal.